Why ADHD Brains Crave Sugar and Carbs

Why ADHD Brains Crave Sugar and Carbs

Becca King, a dietitian with ADHD who specializes in help others with ADHD develop health eating habits, shares the role dopamine plays in binge eating and explains the idea of “conscious eating” and why it’s important.  She also offers up advice to several questions Ned poses like, “How do I stop myself from eating the whole pint of ice cream?” and “How can I break the pattern of binging on carbs when I love eating them?”

Learn more about Becca King, MS, RDN, LDN on Instagram. You can find her with the username @adhd.nutritionist or click THIS LINK to schedule a call with Becca.

If you have a question or comment you’d like Dr. Hallowell to address in an episode reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Distraction at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Get a copy of Ned’s newest book, ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

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Q&A with Dr. H: Finding the Right Career

Q&A with Dr. H: Finding the Right Career

Dr. H answers a question from a listener named Victor who is bored with his job, his co-workers and working from home in general. Victor reached out looking for advice about how to find a new job that suits him. Listen to hear the three main components Ned says are integral to finding the right career. This advice is applicable to everyone, with or without ADHD! 

We hope you enjoy this first episode in a series of Q&A episodes we’ll be releasing every Monday, made possible by our new sponsor, Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut.

If you have a question or comment you’d like Dr. Hallowell to address in an episode just like this, reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Learn more about our new sponsor, Forman School, a coed college prep school dedicated to empowering bright students who learn differently in grades 9-PG. Forman School provides the individual attention these students need. Ned loves Forman!  

Get a copy of Ned’s newest book, ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!  

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

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You’re Not Just a Square Peg in a Round Hole

You’re Not Just a Square Peg in a Round Hole

If you have ADHD you’ve probably felt like you didn’t “fit in” at some point in your life. And that can be very difficult to deal with. In this episode Dr. H talks with a Distraction listener named Elaine who reached out to us with a message that was so poignant we knew we had to have her on the podcast.

As you’ll hear Elaine describe in this episode, getting diagnosed with ADHD was a turning point in her life. And like many other women, Elaine wasn’t diagnosed until her child was!

In addition to having ADHD, Elaine also struggles with sleep issues like narcolepsy and sleep paralysis; depression, anxiety and hypothyroidism. And as she wrote in her message to us, “… the damage of feeling like crap about myself for my whole life is something that will take continued effort to overcome.”

We really hope this conversation with Dr. H helps Elaine and others realize that they have many gifts to offer this world! 

If you have a question or comment for Dr. Hallowell reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Ned’s new book is out now! Get a copy of ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!  

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Distraction at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

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Start Managing Your ADHD Symptoms Today, Don’t Wait For A Diagnosis

Start Managing Your ADHD Symptoms Today, Don’t Wait For A Diagnosis

A listener named Zoe reached out this week asking what she can do to manage her ADHD symptoms before getting an official diagnosis.

Dr. H goes over one big strategy Zoe (and others) can implement immediately to make positive changes in their lives and gain  understanding of their neurodiverse brains, even before seeing a doctor.

If you have a question or comment about the podcast reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Ned’s new book is out now! Get a copy of ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

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Strategies for Raising Kids with ADHD, Anxiety and More

Strategies for Raising Kids with ADHD, Anxiety and More

Raising kids is tough, but raising neurodiverse kids can present extra challenges that parents of neurotypical children never encounter.  Elaine Taylor-Klaus of Impact Parents joins Ned to share some of the techniques she uses to help parents who are raising kids with ADHD, autism, depression and other complex issues.

Their discussion includes how parents can benefit from having a coach, and “Taking Aim,” the strategy Elaine uses to help caregivers narrow their focus and make one change at a time.

Elaine’s latest book, The Essential Guide to Raising Complex Kids, is available on her website HERE or wherever books are sold. 

If you have a question or comment about the podcast reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Ned’s new book is out now! Get a copy of ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!  

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

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ADHD Q&A: Symptoms, Stimulants, and Sleep

ADHD Q&A: Symptoms, Stimulants, and Sleep

Dr. H responds to emails from listeners with questions about ADHD and stimulant medication, recognizing symptoms, becoming a coach, brain differences, and sleep/fatigue issues.

If you have a question you’d like answered in a future episode just like this one, reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Ned’s NEW BOOK is out now! Get a copy of ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!  

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness!

Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

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Creative Solutions to Common Problems

Creative Solutions to Common Problems

ADHD coach Jeff Copper spends a lot of his time coming up with unique ways to help his clients. In this conversation with Ned he shares some of the interesting ways he’s helped people get things done and manage their time better. As you’ll hear, Jeff believes it’s all about using what works for you, even if it’s unusual!

Jeff’s coaching website: DIG Coaching Practice

Jeff’s podcast: Attention Talk Radio

Ned’s NEW BOOK is out now! Get a copy of ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!

Reach out to us with your comments, questions and show ideas! Send us an email, or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, Omega Brite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years and so as my wife and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at OmegaBriteWellness.com and Brite is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E. OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. I have a wonderful guest today, a true a veteran and hero in the world of ADHD by the name of Jeff Copper. He is the founder of DIG Coaching. He’s a coach for excellence and the host of Attention Talk Radio, which performs a tremendous service to the ADHD community. The podcast is designed to help adults and children with ADHD in life or business who are stuck, overwhelmed or frustrated. And that includes most of the people in the world who have this fascinating condition. So, welcome to the podcast Jeff.

Jeff Copper:
Thank you so much for having me on and thank you so much for the work that you do for the ADHD community.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You asked me what I’d like to talk about and I said whatever you want, but I think most people are always, always intrigued to hear a personal story. So how did you get into this world of ADHD and the Attention Talk Radio and the coaching business that you have? Can you tell us about that?

Jeff Copper:
Sure. It’s actually a really, really long story with a lot of steps, but in a nutshell, I was a athlete that struggled as a kid with dyslexia and ADD. I didn’t know about ADD at the time and I struggled in school, but what got me through is I was a competitive swimmer. I swam internationally for a period of time, was able to get to college on a scholarship. And when I got there, I had to figure everything out on my own. And I did with some pretty unorthodox means, if you will. Fast-forward I got into the working world and had some success, went and got my MBA, but later. And then started to kind of experiment around with some things and some people said you should be a coach like a life coach. So, I explored it a little bit and ADD coaching really seemed to be a place to go because I was a particularly organized person and people was like, “Hey. You could really help some people in this realm.” So I got into it and immediately started having some difficulty.

Jeff Copper:
So, I struggle with writing. I believe you’re dyslexic if I’m not mistaken and you do a really good job with the written word and done well with it. I struggle with it. So, when I first got ADD coach and I had to kind of figure out how I was going to do it on my own and coach myself and so interviewing people was a lot easier for me to create content. So, I started Attention Talk Radio back in 2009. And since that time I’ve done a show every week for over 10 years.

Jeff Copper:
And you and I have had some great shows. One of my honors was in 2014, when you came on the show because I realized that the first written reference to ADHD coaching was in Driven to Distraction in 1994. And that was the 20th anniversary. And so it was a real privilege for me to interview you on that and all the other experts that I’ve had. And since that time, I really like ADHD coaching because of the creativity that’s required to really talk about people and try to help them understand what works for them. And so I’ve been doing it ever since. Real joy, more of a calling.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And yes, thank you. Thank you for recognizing that it was in Driven to Distraction that I basically invented coaching and then left it to other people to take it and run with it. And thank goodness. The academic community laughed at me and they said, “Hallowell thinks coaching is important for ADHD.” And Biederman said, “Oh, I thought that was for baseball players not for patients.” And now it’s a mainstay. There’s seminars on coaching, continuing education on coaching, institutes on coaching. And it’s really works. Why don’t you tell listeners what’s so good about… What is it, first of all? And what’s so good about it for people with ADHD.

Jeff Copper:
So, when it comes to coaching, there’s kind of two forms as I describe. One is a behavioral approach where if you’re struggling with time management, somebody will walk in with a Franklin planner and a bunch of colored pencils metaphorically and tell you what to do every day and you kind of coach your behavior. Then there’s the other side, which is more of a life coaching side, where you really look at people and you begin to say, “Hey. Listen, you’ve got some systems.” So, what that looks like is a woman called me up one time with some time management problems. And I said, “Tell me about time. What does it look like?” She said, “It’s like a river that flows.” And I won’t go into the detail, what’s fascinating is how there’s droughts and the rainy season and the river goes fast and there’s rapids and it goes slow.

Jeff Copper:
But anyway, I started saying, “How would we manage time in the context of a river?” And we experimented around with timelines and for whatever reason, timelines work for her. And you can’t buy timelines in the self-help section of the bookstore, but we really tried to understand her individual brain wiring and understand how she saw time and we were able to come up with something that worked for her.

Jeff Copper:
Now, again, there’s different kinds of coaches, but I can pair and contrast those two because both of them have a real good place. I enjoy the more, I don’t know what’s going to work for you. Let’s try to figure that out. As an aside, I actually had a woman one time had credible sense of smell. Off the charts. And so we started experimenting around with it. And so we discovered a smell based to-do list and to my surprise-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh wow.

Jeff Copper:
Crayons have odor and that’s how she did it. And so as you can see, that’s not something you’ve probably heard of, but for some people with ADHD, because their brain wiring is a little different, with a little bit of creativity, you can come up on some solutions like that, that seem really, really odd that really, really work for people like her. Makes sense?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a great example. So how does the smell based to-do list work?

Jeff Copper:
I don’t recall why, but when she would smell a crayon, by the way they have color, I think you can get the 164 pack. She would associated things with it. And literally all she would do is take the color and she would draw a line on the sheet of paper and she would just take her nose and she’d smell it and she’d go through her list and for whatever reason it’s almost like the smell kind of hung in her mind. I know I do exercises what I call attention exercises with other people on some of the topics and I’ll talk to them and I’ll say, “Well, how’d you remember that?” Said, “I could hear your voice echoing in my mind.”

Jeff Copper:
So for whatever reason with her, she would smell it and would hold her attention and she would be able to remember to go execute whatever task that is. And so, you’re more of an expert on the brain and the particular wiring and I’m just a coach. I just help people find out what works and we do it. But that was just a fascinating instance.

Jeff Copper:
Another story, I was working with a woman one time and she wanted to talk about a to-do list. And I said, “What would it be like if you drew pictures of what your to-do was?” So she gave it a shot and she came back the next week she says, “Oh my God, that was really, really helpful.” And I said, “Great.” Normally I would end there, but she said, “You know something, I never realized that a letter is a symbol. And when I add the letters of a word into a word, that’s a symbol And then when I read a sentence, I actually have to build a picture in my mind.”

Jeff Copper:
So, she noticed how she would read the to-do. Then she would go and get distracted and she would have to go back and reassemble the picture in her mind. And she said, “I just get to where I wouldn’t do anymore.” She said, “When I draw the picture, I can look at the picture. I would make that association. I wouldn’t have to build the picture in my mind.” She said, “Because I didn’t have to go through the work. I would follow up on a little bit easier.” Again, just a fun little story to share what this looks like.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, no, absolutely. The visuals always matter in the world of ADHD. And you added in smell. That’s brilliant. That is brilliant.

Jeff Copper:
That’s one of the things that I spend a lot of time on because working memory is visual imagery or self-talk. And a lot of people with ADHD that struggle, a lot of times they’re struggling because they can’t visualize something or they can’t think in their mind. I do a lot of helping them realize that focus problem that you have is a focus problem but when you are working memory is over taxed and you can’t see it, let’s focus on relieving that, and then they can actually pay attention to for a little bit longer. So, you just brought that up and I just wanted to reiterate that a lot of times in coaching, we’re looking at working memory to try to address that, to make it easier for people to think.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. Yeah, absolutely. That’s make it easier to think. So you get what’s standing in the way out of the way.

Jeff Copper:
Exactly. It’s a little bit of digging down a little bit deeper to some things as opposed to just more superficial type ways of addressing stuff. I know one of the things that I do a lot of is back when I went to school, you would highlight a book and your notes and you put it right next to you and your eyes would dart back and forth to read and compare notes. In an academic world a lot of students are trying to work on a laptop. And if you read something and then you click on a tab and you scroll down trying to remember what you read from one tab or one browser to another often, you forget what you read while you’re scrolling.

Jeff Copper:
Well, that’s a working memory issue. And a lot of students will want tips, tricks, and strategies to deal with that when they really just need a second computer screen so they can put both of them up and their eyes dart back and forth. Not a commonality in the college environment, commonality in a corporate environment because they realize that’s there but a lot of students don’t realize it’s not the tip trick or strategy. It’s just, you need a second screen. So your eyes don’t have to hold that while they’re scrolling around.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. That’s another great idea, Jeff. Yeah.

Jeff Copper:
Did an interview years ago with Dr. Russell Barkley and we talked about working memory and how paper, sometimes high-tech for people with ADHD because you can spread it out and see it all as opposed to trying to look through everything on a really small computer screen.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right, right. What are the ideal age for coaching? What’s the youngest you can successfully coach.

Jeff Copper:
I’m more of a behavior modification I think is probably more appropriate for the younger ones, teens, et cetera. I spend more time with adults 20 and up because I do a lot of trying to help them understand what works based off of their successes, as opposed to trying to change the system. We always go back and say, well, what systems do you have in place? And for an older adult, it’s easier to have those conversations, which is… I actually have a philosophy about organizational systems and everybody has a system. And if you focus on your current system and understand why it’s there, it’s usually easier just to tweak that system than it is to build something completely new. Makes sense?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Makes total sense. Yeah. Yeah. It’s always easier if you’re not starting from square zero. Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of Omega Brite Wellness, Dr. Carol Locke, about the benefits of taking Omega Brite’s Omega-3’s CBD and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations. Now there are many different products or brands of fish oil. Why is Omega Brite the best?

Dr. Carol Locke:
What I can speak to with a mega bright is it’s a very different formula than typically what you can get in the store or online. And Omega Brite is clinically proven. We have over 10 studies in major academic centers showing Omega Brite improving mood, helping with bipolar, with depression, with ADHD, with anxiety, with inflammation. So, that’s a very proven product for you to gain these benefits. And these benefits we know come from Omega Brite. You can’t get that with a typical Omega-3 which has say 180 milligrams of EPA in it that just isn’t going to provide that benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners. You can save 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com by using the promo code Podcast2020. All right, let’s get back to today’s topic.

Jeff Copper:
So, one of my favorite stories, I was coaching a real estate agent, residential. And it’s funny, she came to me because she described herself as a hot mess and she was disorganized. And one day she said, “I need to organize the way I track my prospects or my sales.” And what’s traditional is you go in, you log all your clients into a contact relationship manager which requires you go to the computer and a lot of tedious stuff. And I said, “No, no, no, no. Let’s just take a look at your current system.” And she argued with me that she didn’t have a system. And I said, “No. You do. You sell, you’ve got some clients.”

Jeff Copper:
So, after spending about 15 minutes of having a conversation with her about what she was doing, we realized every morning she’d wake up and she would scroll through her texts in her phone and she would scroll through her voicemails. What we realized is that everybody is reaching out to her or contacting her by those means. She would scroll and she would see the names, which would help her work a memory, identify what was there. And sometimes she would be really busy in a day and she wouldn’t get back to everybody. So, the next day she felt a little bit panicked trying to catch up, whether it’s her texts, her voicemails. And we began to realize it was a routine that she did every day was scrolling through her phone. We didn’t have to do anything about that. She would identify and react to it so that was working.

Jeff Copper:
But she was overwhelmed by it all because she couldn’t see all the clients and literally all we did is we got some Post-its two colors. One was for buyers and one was for listing agents. She went through, put their names on the Post-its, put them on a poster board and put on a chest of drawers and she put the prospects that were hot at the top, buyers on one side, listers on the other. And now she could see all of her activity. In that moment, number one, she was like, “Wow, I’m doing pretty good.” And number two, calm came over her because the issue is that she had a good system, but she felt overwhelmed because she couldn’t conceptualize it. And all we did was put it on the Post-its and she could see it. She didn’t interact with it and just brought a lot of peace to her.

Jeff Copper:
So in that situation, I’m demonstrating how we didn’t have to go to a whole new organizational system. All we had to do was solve this one little problem and what didn’t seem to work was actually working very, very well. Didn’t look like what maybe a system should look like, but I find a lot of people with ADHD sometimes if you just look at things as to what’s working, what’s the system, you can just tweak them a little bit and all of a sudden you get something that works. Feel different, huh?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. Wonderful. You’re a wealth of creative interventions, Jeff. It’s terrific.

Jeff Copper:
And another story, one of my favorites is I was actually coaching a psychiatrist one time they had ADHD and they wanted to coach her one day because they were late all the time. And, “You want a time management system?” They said, “Yeah.” “So, Let me ask you, how late are you?” They said, “10, 15 minutes late.” I said, “Are you ever an hour late?” “Well, yeah. Daylight savings time.” “You ever an hour early?” “Yeah. Daylight savings.” “Ha. You’re funny.” So I said, “Let me get this straight. You’re 10 to 15 minutes late, like 98% of the time.” They said, “Yeah.” I said, “Well, what’s your system?” They said, “That’s what I want to cut you on.” I go, “Well, if you’re consistently that late, you got to have a system. If you didn’t have a system, you’d be like 45 minutes late, you’d miss appointment.” He goes, “I don’t know. I guess I don’t like to be bored.” And I go, “There you go.”

Jeff Copper:
He goes, “Where I go, well, there’s no time management system in the world that’s going to solve that problem.” Then we began to have a conversation about boredom. And sometimes when a patient would come into the room and the nurse was there, he would walk in waiting for that. He barely would get off on something that he shouldn’t have been doing and would get in trouble because he didn’t do well with boredom. So when we got done, we began to realize, number one, he did have a system. Number two, there was a legitimate reason why he had that system to keep him out of trouble.

Jeff Copper:
And so we walked away feeling good about it. Now people complained a little bit about it, but he’s like, “I know you’re complaining about it, but it’s better than if I’m doing something I shouldn’t do and I don’t have to regulate.” So again, these are some stories that some people probably didn’t expect, but by looking at yourself and trying to understand why you do it, sometimes you can find some pretty cool stuff in the coaching paradigm. Sometimes you might do something to put Post-its, but other time it’s wait a second. I actually do have a system. So from an emotional perspective, I can realize there’s nothing wrong. It’s legitimate reason I do that. And sometimes it comes to grip with it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Absolutely.

Jeff Copper:
Just fun stories.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You have wonderful stories, wonderful stories. And tells us about Attention Talk Radio.

Jeff Copper:
Well, Attention Talk Radio as I described earlier was born for me because I couldn’t write. So, I started interviewing experts, topically. When I first started doing it, I was like, “Okay, I’ll probably do a year’s worth of topics because there’s 52 weeks in a year. How many topics could there be?” Well, it’s over 10 years later still been doing the same thing and still been coming in with more and more topics. And as I’ve done that, I’ve learned over the years, a lot from again, experts like yourself or Dr. Thomas Brown or Dr. Barkley, or like Anne Dolan, educator, or other coaches, et cetera. And so it’s always been amazing to me that fundamentally there’s a limited number of concepts, but we’ve come up with lots of ideas that we illustrate. Like one of my favorites was with Ari Tuckman one time when we talked about manners, teaching kids manners.

Jeff Copper:
Now we think of manners as something that kids should do. But when you think about it, self-regulation is the ability to pause and override your urge just to do something. And if you’re going to have manners like hold the door for somebody or wait for everybody to be seated, you actually have to practice self-regulating. So, we did the show and we kind of illustrated how, as a parent you can use manners as a self-regulation exercise. Don’t worry about the mayors come into place, but continue to do it on a regular basis because it actually can teach kids the skill of stop, pausing and overriding some of that stuff to help them develop that skills.

Jeff Copper:
We’ve had other shows that I’d like to do is like years ago I was interviewing Dr. Roberto Lombardi who’s a psychologist. And we talked about how when he did his Harvard dissertation, he wrote it in two weeks. Most people would write their dissertation in a room with quiet. He actually wrote his with punk rock videos playing on the same screen that he was writing. And he said, the beat of the words kept him focused so he could get through that stuff.

Jeff Copper:
And so it’s been a fun journey along the way with Attention Talk Radio. Learning from mental health professionals, learning for teachers, lived experiences, some quirky things that worked for some people and et cetera. So, it’s been a real journey. And for me. I started doing it as it means not to write, but to get something out there. Little did I know I would get an amazing education along the way. And I know you’ve got a bunch of stories of things in your life that really kind of helped you. And one of my favorite is I think it was your first grade or second grade teacher who helped you read. And I think I’ve heard you say before, “Who would have believed that I would make a living with words when it was such a struggle back in those days.” I think really the story about people it ain’t cheap.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I couldn’t agree with you more. Absolutely Jeff. It’s really terrific.

Jeff Copper:
I’ve heard you speak a lot. And one of the things that you say that I know everybody gets is that it’s in the moment that you accept yourself and you quit fighting your ADHD and you begin to step in who you are that that transformation really takes place. And I think that you’re a testament that as other people are. And again, you said that before, I just want to highlight, your own personal story is your own triumph and accepting who you are. And I know you dedicate your practice and what you do to helping people do the same thing. And so those that are out there, that are struggling, I encourage you to take that mindset, it will help you a lot.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You’re so right. And you’re very kind to say that. And you certainly done the same thing. Well, listen. I’m sorry. We are running out of time. You can find Jeff on the web at digcoaching.com and you can check out his podcast at attentiontalkradio.com. Jeff is a marvelous contributor to the world of ADHD and just a font of stories, experiences, tips as you’ve gotten a taste of today.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. If you haven’t heard my new book, ADHD 2.0 is available now. You can find a copy wherever books are sold, or by going to my website, DrHallowell.com or by clicking the link in the show notes. And remember to follow Distraction on social media and please continue to reach out to us with your comments and questions. Our email address is [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our audio engineer is the wonderful Scott Persson and our producer is the supremely talented Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thanks to Jeff Copper and thanks to you for listening.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at Omega Brite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at Omega Brite. And that’s B-R-I-T-E. Wellness.com.

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Why You Need an ADHD Coach

Why You Need an ADHD Coach

More people than ever before are hiring coaches to help them manage their lives. In this mini Ned explains what an ADHD coach actually does and why you should consider finding one.

Ned’s NEW BOOK is out now! Get a copy of ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!

Reach out to us with your comments, questions and show ideas! Send us an email, or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega3 supplements for many years and so as my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com. And brite is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Today we are going to do a mini episode on the topic of, what does a coach do and why do you need one? Well, if you’re playing baseball, the coach will develop the batting order and give signs as to when to hit and when to steal. And you need one because it’s hard to run a baseball team without one, but that’s a baseball player.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In the world of ADHD, why might you need a coach and what would that coach do? Well, it depends on who you are and what kind of coach you’re looking for. When I came up with the idea of a coach for ADHD back in the early nineties when I was writing, Driven to Distraction, it occurred to me that most of these kids and adults for that matter didn’t need psychotherapy so much. That was the standard clinical intervention when you have an issue that brings you to a mental health professional was you get psychotherapy, which is talking about emotional conflicts in childhood and so on and so forth and that’s really not what people with ADHD needed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So I said to myself, the best model I can think of for what they need is indeed what that baseball player needs, someone to establish the batting order, someone to tell them when to hit and when to take, so on and so forth. Somebody to help them plan their day, their plan of attack, to have a game plan, to do what a coach does, what a sports coach does. That’s what they need with the practical details of life. So that’s what a coach does and why you need one is if you’re having trouble doing those things. People with ADHD typically know what they want to do, they just don’t do it. And that’s where a coach can help you plan, set up a schedule, set up a routine, whatever the structure is that will aid you in achieving what you want to achieve. He or she won’t tell you what to do, it’ll ask you what you want to get done and then set up a template, a program to help you get it done.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s very simple, very simple. It’s not psychotherapy and it’s not high level project management. It’s nuts and bolts. When do I brush my teeth? When do I pick up my book bag? When do I handed my paper? When do I apply for a raise? When do I get a haircut? When do I go to the dry cleaner? When do I have lunch? These are the kinds of things that hang up people with ADHD and a coach can help you get past that. It’s a wonderful intervention if I do say so myself, since I developed it. But it’s now very common, there are thousands and thousands of coaches and books about coaching and institutes on coaching and academies to train coaches. It’s taken off and well it should because it’s a wonderfully, wonderfully helpful intervention.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, well, that’s it for me today. Thank you as always to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. Save 20% on your first order with the promo code, podcast 2020, at omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And I’m very happy to share with you the news that my new book, ADHD 2.0, is out now. I wrote it with Dr. John Ratey, my colleague and buddy. And we lay out a revolutionary new approach featuring new science and strategies to help people with ADD ADHD thrive. You can learn more about ADHD 2.0 and order a copy by clicking the link in the show notes or by going to my website at drhallowell.com. That’s D-R, no period, D-R-H-A-L-L-O-W-E-L-L, .com. You can also find it wherever books are sold.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And please reach out to us with your questions and comments by emailing [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the wonderfully talented, Scott Person. And our producer is the equally wonderfully talented Sara [inaudible 00:05:08]. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

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ADHD 2.0 Reveals New Science and Strategies

ADHD 2.0 Reveals New Science and Strategies

Dr. Hallowell’s latest book, ADHD 2.0 is out today!

Ned’s longtime writing partner, Dr. John Ratey, joins him for a conversation about the latest research they uncovered including how the brain’s “default mode network” is especially dangerous for those with ADHD, why “ADHD” is a terrible term and we should call it “VAST” instead,  and how finding the right amount of difficult can help you stay engaged in a task.

They also discuss the role the cerebellum plays in regulating our attention, how exercise can help with symptoms, why ADHDers are more susceptible to addiction in all forms, and the importance of connection.

You can get a copy of ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or JohnRatey.com, or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!

Reach out to us with your comments, questions and show ideas! Send us an email, or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years and so has my wife and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabrite.wellness.com and Brite is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. We have a very special show today because my dear friend, John Ratey, Dr. John Ratey is joining us to talk about our new book, ADHD 2.0: New Science and Strategies for Thriving with Distraction. It will come out January 12th and we’re hoping to tell you enough about it that you will want to run out and buy the book yourselves. So without further ado, let me welcome my wonderful friend, John. Hello, John.

Dr. John Ratey:
Hello, Ned and hello everyone in podcast land.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. Just so you know, I’m coming to you from my third floor studio office in Arlington, Massachusetts and John is coming to you from, where are you John?

Dr. John Ratey:
I am in Los Angeles, California, Beverly Hills, to be exact from my wife’s apartment in her office and enjoying talking with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good. Well, so we have this new book that listeners maybe remember our first book, Driven to Distraction that came out in 1994 and then Delivered from Distraction came out in 2005 and so now in 2021, we have ADHD 2.0. Let’s just jump right in and tell listeners what’s new about it. One thing that’s new in the book is our term for ADHD, which is a terrible term, it’s not a deficit of attention, it’s an abundance of attention and we don’t see it as a disorder, but rather a trait. If you manage it right it’s an asset, if you don’t, it can be a terrible pain in the butt. So we invented a new term for the condition that does not connote as much pathology as ADHD does with its deficit disorder.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our new term, which we introduce in this book is vast, V-A-S-T. First of all, it is a vast condition, but vast is also an acronym stands for variable attention stimulus trait. Captures the two key elements of stimulation and attention and everything in this condition is variable. So VAST, we hope will be more appealing to people and actually far more accurate than the old ADHD. What do you have to say about that, John?

Dr. John Ratey:
No, exactly. And I think we’ve been trying to say, “Look, this is a normal condition across a spectrum,” and it’s when you get… because we all have variable attention, right, and we all have trouble with it. But especially some people have the genes or have the upbringing or have circumstances that lead to more of it. And especially in our overstimulated world, we all have trouble with our attention. We’re not building it up like we used to or so it goes. But the problem with ADHD and the problem with a diagnosis like a deficit is that it makes people feel problematic. It makes them feel defunct, deficit, they’re less than. That’s not a way to think about it. It’s something to be mastered, to be understood and to be guided.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. So with a more affirmative term that is actually more accurate because there’s no deficit of attention, it’s wandering of attention, an abundance of attention. The need is to control it. So we offer VAST as both a more accurate and a more affirmative positive strength-based as we like to say, strength-based term. So that’s one thing that’s new in this book. Something else that’s new comes from the realm of a neuroscience and it’s a complicated cumbersome term, but once you understand it, it’s incredibly powerful. This is the default mode network, the DMN, which I call the demon and you’ll see why. John, do you want to give them a explanation of why we think the DMN is so useful and powerful an idea?

Dr. John Ratey:
Right. Well, first off, it’s looking at the brain as a bunch of networks and the major one is the default mode network, which is parts of the brain that are all connected and that are being employed when you’re letting your mind wander. This is sort of a condition that ADD people love and are very much into. But it’s when we’re not paying attention to something, we go into the default mode. This is great when you can control it. But again people with ADD have trouble getting rid of it. They’re too much into it. We can get out of it when we have a task performance network, which is another network that takes us into something that we’re paying attention to, something that we’re worried about, something they were doing. It usually in people that don’t have attention deficit disorder. When this happens, when you get into something, your default mode shuts up or goes down. However, with ADD it’s always pressing to say, “Hey, pay attention to me,” which means, let’s go into a mind wandering situation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. I think what people find so useful about the DMN or really revelation is that it can just stream out really negative ideas, thoughts, feelings, images. So you go into the DMN, the demon, and it takes over and you get into this sort of trance-like state of rumination and you can stay in it. As people with ADD know only to well, you can stay in it for a long time, spend an hour just brooding and ruminating on all the ways in which your life is miserable and you’re miserable and everything’s miserable. People take medication to prevent it and they do anything they can possibly think of to prevent it, but the best way to prevent it is to do something else, to get back into the task-positive network, to snap out of the demon.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And so I say, “Don’t feed the demon,” and we tend to feed it with our attention. Attention is its life’s blood, its oxygen supply. Well, if you pay attention to something else, like dig a hole or play a piano or talk to a friend, anything, do anything, do jumping jacks, focus on your breathing. The key is to focus on something else to break the hole, the DMN, the demon has over you to break that negative about how you’re awful and your life is awful. It’s a state that people with ADD go into and the mistake they make is they mistake the productions of the demon for being reality. Yes, I really am that bad, yes, life really is that awful. And it’s not. It’s your imagination conjuring up all this negative stuff. Rather than take a pill or take a new philosophy course, simply do something else, anything to focus your attention elsewhere so you’re not feeding the demon with your attention.

Dr. John Ratey:
The trick with this too is that the DMN and the TPN and the task-performance network-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Task-positive, isn’t it?

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes, task-positive network is, the connection between them is clunky. It doesn’t quite go as easily as it does in the so-called neuro-typical person or the person that doesn’t have ADD. And so having structures, having a positive focus in your life and the 3M’s meditation, medication and exercise, which is not an M, but all help correct this clunkiness so that you’re able to switch easily enough and get out of it if you get caught into the rumination problem.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think the M you were looking for John is movement.

Dr. John Ratey:
Movement, yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Meditation, medication and movement.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But to deal with the DMN, you really don’t need medication, you just need the insight that this is not reality, life is not so terrible, I’m not so terrible and just focus your attention on some other tasks. You’ve got to shut off the demon’s oxygen supply, namely your attention and redirect your attention to some other tasks. Do a crossword puzzle, dig a hole, call a friend, do 25 jumping jacks, just focus on your breathing. You’ve always got your breathing with you. And if you can do that then you will shut off the demon and you’ll stop this horrible, horrible spell of trance-like brooding, ruminating negative thinking that really hounds most people who have VAST or ADD. It’s such a simple trick to learn, but so gripping is the habit of the negative thinking that a lot of people just buy into it and keep feeding the demon with their attention.

Dr. John Ratey:
Right. It’s been very helpful for patients and people in general who have trouble with their attention, sort of giving them this model saying that, “You have something that you’re trying to attend to, but you’re being pulled out of it by the default mode that’s a chatterbox and just won’t shut up.” So it’s helpful to use this model and people have said, “Aha, that’s what it is. When I’m trying to pay attention and keep on what it is I want to do, I’m being pulled back to this default mode to have my mind wander or get into the very ingrained rumination of how you’ve not done right in life, you have been a failure, whatever.” But just having that explanation has sparked a lot of, not just insight, but action-oriented insight when people can say, “Okay, now I just need to do something or change my thoughts or flip into another mode, to fry an egg,” like your one patient who said, “Yeah, I’ve fried 25 eggs now, what?” I mean, it’s-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
When we were first learning about this, one of the first experts we listened to amused us both because his antidote to the demon, the DMN, he would just shout it out. He would say, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” and that would shut off the demon. He’d out shout it. He’d just say, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” and that would shut off the demon. So you can do that. Of course, you have to be in a place where nobody’s going to think you’re going out of your mind, but it’s-

Dr. John Ratey:
No, but that checks it off you see.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, exactly.

Dr. John Ratey:
Then you’re able to use your energy to things that are positive and things you want to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. So don’t buy it. See, that’s the key selling point. Don’t let it own you, don’t let it take over, don’t think, “This is the terrible insight that, I really am doomed and my life really does suck and I suck and everything sucks.” Don’t buy that. Don’t mistake that imagining for reality because it’s not reality and you can shut it off just by doing something, engaging, focusing on something so you activate the task-positive network. I hope that’s clear because it is complicated from a neuroscience standpoint, but it’s very true, very valid. You can see it on FMRI and it’s really learning how to use this scientific bit of information in a very practical transformative way.

Dr. John Ratey:
One of the chapters in our new book is called, Finding the Right Difficult, which is finding something that really is compelling and that is a bit hard, but something that you want to master, you want to be involved in and this will keep your attention. If you find the right one, you can keep coming back to it, whatever it is, or solving a problem, figuring out whatever your bills or how to-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s not usually going to be your bills, but the two key elements of the right difficult are number one, it has to be challenging. If it’s not challenging, it’s boring. And number two, it has to matter to you. It has to really hold you. And so those two combined, it matters to you and it’s challenging then you’ll engage and in many ways, the more difficult it is the better. I discovered my right difficult in high school when my 12th grade English teacher challenged me to write a novel. A novel, I knew Exeter was a tough school, I didn’t know I had to write a novel, but I did it because he encouraged me to do it. I took up the challenge and by the end of the year, I’d written a novel and it won the senior English prize and I was off to the races. The beauty of that and it’s been my right difficult ever since, no pun on, write, with 21 books and still counting. It all began in 12th grade when that teacher introduced me to my right difficult.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And that is a third element of it which we found is so important in living and mastering this condition, namely that you have a creative outlet. We’re like cows, we need to be milked. If I don’t have a book going, I get depressed. We need that creative outlet. I think it’s been overlooked in the writings that people have done about ADHD. We haven’t stressed it enough ourselves. It’s so important. You find it through the right difficult. So you find some activity that’s challenging and matters to you that you can put in your creativity. That’s why paying your bills is not particularly a good example. So it’s got to allow for your creativity to be brought into the process.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And so you have those three elements that it’s difficult, but it matters to you and there’s room for your creativity to activate it and advance it. When you find that and you can have several, then you’re ready to get into the zone, you’re ready to take advantage of the advantages that come with this condition, the creativity, the originality, the industriousness, the refusal to give up, the stalwart nature of, spunky nature of most people who have it. But remember those three elements that it’s got to be difficult, it’s got to matter to you and there has to be room for you to really put your full supply of creativity into it.

Dr. John Ratey:
Right. Well, I was thinking less about pills and more about manipulating the stock market and figuring that-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
There you go. Okay. There you go.

Dr. John Ratey:
Because I have so many patients who find that right difficult by day trading or dealing with the cryptocurrency. These are difficulties to get it right and to master it. So that’s what I was really thinking about this morning.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely, absolutely. Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of OmegaBrite Wellness, Dr. Carol Locke, about the benefits of taking OmegaBrite’s Omega-3’s CBD and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Could you tell us a little bit about the study, recent study that showed OmegaBrite reduced inflammation and anxiety in medical students?

Dr. Carol Locke:
This was a great study. It was done at Ohio state and it was done on medical students, 68 medical students without any medical problems done over 12 weeks. It was a blinded study meaning the researchers and the students did not know if they were taking the OmegaBrite or the dummy capsules. What it found was a 20% reduction in anxiety and a 14% reduction in the inflammatory cytokine IL-6, so that you had a very powerful benefit from the OmegaBrite shown in this study. That’s something that people could use right now in their life, reducing their anxiety and stress and inflammation,

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at omegabritewellness.com by using the promo code, Podcast 2020. All right. Let’s get back to today’s topic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So now we have two elements in our book that have not been in previous books, a new name for ADHD, talking about the default mode network, talking about the right difficult and then a fourth new topic in the book, you want to talk about the cerebellum, John?

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes. The cerebellum. What a great part of our brain. It’s amazing. We used to only think of it as dealing with keeping us coordinated, keeping our movements coordinated. In the past 20 years, there’s been an explosion of interest in the cerebellum as keeping our thinking in order, keeping our experience in order. This is really important. It’s not just about balance and rhythm and for our motor system, but for all of our higher functionings, especially for attention, that the carry over of our cerebellum in involvement and attention is so great.

Dr. John Ratey:
We know that, 35, 40% of kids with ADHD have a discoordination problems, problems with their coordination and balance and whatnot. And same so do many of adults who get diagnosed with ADHD, they have coordination and balance problems. The beauty of it for… in our book we talk about is that the cerebellum is something that is very trainable, that is, you can make it better by doing balance training, doing yoga, doing Tai Chi, doing the martial arts or doing some kind of exercise that impacts your balance and makes it better. This has an impact on your attention, on the clunkiness of the default mode and TPN but also in doing all the things for our executive function that the medicine can do. It can help greatly.

Dr. John Ratey:
There’s study after study now showing that this is something to really pay attention to. Ned, you have this case in China, that is in our book where you did this sort of from afar over email to a mom and getting her son to really change his life by doing balance exercising in the morning and led to massive change in his attention and his performance and in the school that he was involved with.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And what’s so important is that it’s not just you get better at balance and coordination, by doing exercises that stimulate the cerebellum, you, in fact, directly impact the circuits that have to do with executive function and detention. This is work from Jeremy Schmahmann at Mass General Hospital and Harvard Medical School showing there are connections from the cerebellum through the vestibular circuit to the prefrontal cortex and all the elements that are so involved in ADHD. In fact, there’s a syndrome called Schmahmann syndrome named after Jeremy Schmahmann where injury to the cerebellum results in a syndrome that looks ever so much like ADHD. So it’s not just that you’re getting really good at balance so you can ride a unicycle, it’s that by stimulating the cerebellum, by doing exercises that challenge balance, you are also directly impacting the circuits that create the problematic symptoms in ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And as John’s saying, I learned about this… I went to Shanghai a couple of years ago and gave a talk and at the end, the mother of one of the kids, an eight year old boy came up and said, “You’ve got to treat my son.” And I said, “Well, I can’t. I live in Boston, you live in Shanghai.” And she said, “That’s okay. We’ll use email.” And so she was so persistent, we went ahead and we devised a treatment plan that involved the elements that we outlined in the book. It’s not just a cerebellar stimulation, but it’s also creating an environment, what we call a stellar environment of warmth and connection and support and instead of the boy being humiliated and hit with a stick when he got something wrong, they started understanding him and the teacher went along with it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And then in that context, we had him do a series of exercises for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening that involved balance. So he’d stand on one leg, stand on one leg with his eyes closed, he would do some juggling exercises, a series of exercises that challenged balance and coordination. He went from being the absolute rock bottom of the class at the start of the year in September to by Christmas being number one in the class and it was just this simple, straightforward program, no medication whatsoever that took this little boy combining a stellar environment of warmth and understanding with exercises that challenged balance and coordination.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That little boy I’m still in touch with him interestingly enough, he just got into the best secondary school in China. He’s thriving, he’s soaring and he won’t stop doing the exercises. He says to his mother, “I’m not stopping these. Dr. Hallowell gave them to me and I’m going to continue doing them,” and he’s off to the races. His American name is Boots and he and his mom it’s just wonderful to see them. But if a doctor from however many thousand miles away, Boston to Shanghai using no medication and just coaching on stellar environments, warmth and cerebellar stimulation, I can get that of a result, I mean, it really shows that we’re onto something new and important and really the way was paved by Jeremy Schmahmann and the important connection between the cerebellum and the front parts of the brain where the action is in ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s a real breakthrough. I’ve spoken about this before with the Zing program, Wynford Dore in England, with his marvelous program of cerebellar graduated series of exercises. He has over a hundred different exercises that stimulate and challenge balance and coordination and get wonderful results, not just in ADHD, but in other autism and autism spectrum and that sort of thing. So this is another breakthrough that we highlight in the book that John and I are very excited about. If you noticed a change in my voice or John’s voice it’s because I had to move from one location to another, it’s still the same person just located in a different place.

Dr. John Ratey:
I just completed a study with about 26 autistic adolescents, where we had them trained basically on balance and coordination exercises and saw a vast improvement in their attention and then a decrease in their off behaviors and an improvement in their socialization. And these were very complicated autistic adolescent. So it works and it can really make a big difference and with your patient Boots who wasn’t your patient, it was just an advice to the mom, it really changed his life and it’s something that we can easily do for so many people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. And it’s real exciting application of advances in neuroscience to the practical treatment of this condition. What else is new in our book, John, before we wrap up here. We talk about medication, we talk about nutrition, we talk about coaching, the new developments in coaching, and now with the pandemic, coaching has become even more important because it’s harder to see people in person.

Dr. John Ratey:
Well, we also have a whole chapter on exercise and how exercise has such a profound effect on the attention system. Because when we exercise, we liberate more neurotransmitters that we affect with our stimulant medication and other medications we use for ADD. But exercise produces them in a big, big way and very quickly, so that we’ve known in all of our books from the very beginning, that exercise was a component of treatment and now we know how it works and why it works and even studies now going on about what kind of exercise to do and there’s no guarantee that one’s better than the other, but the more you do, the better you become at exercising, the better your attention will be.

Dr. John Ratey:
When we started, we heard all the time about kids doing really well when they were playing a sport and then when they were off season that’s when the trouble began. And we have so many examples of that in our star athletes that have the same kind of program that when they stop training, then they get in trouble because their attention system is wild and not focused and then they get into the inevitable problems with addictions that so many people with ADHD have.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s another element that we take up throughout the book really, the overlap with addiction. Probably the single biggest hazard in life with ADD is to develop a chemical addiction or a behavioral addiction. The rate of addiction in the ADHD population is 5 to 10 times higher than in the neuro-typical population. And another interesting fact, 80% of addiction begins between the ages of 13 and 23. So we are talking about major risk for people between 13 and 23. One of the best ways to stay off to avoid addiction is taking medication. This has been shown over and over again, people think, “No, you shouldn’t take medication like Adderall. That’s a gateway drug.” No, just the opposite. It helps close the gateway.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So by taking medication, you’re reducing the risk of addiction. Contrary to popular belief, taking stimulant medication helps prevent the development of addiction. Remember, behavioral addictions are very important too, screen addiction, gambling addiction, sex addiction, shopping addiction all of these sort of compulsive behaviors go on wild are way, way, way more common in life with ADHD. And then another element that I think we have to stress because now it’s so missing in so many people’s lives that we stress in the book is the importance of connection, the importance of human connection, of warmth, which I call the other vitamin C and it is as vital for life as ascorbic acid. So many people are suffering from a vitamin connect deficiency these days. You see the symptoms, it’s listlessness, low grade depression, lack of motivation, lack of zest, lack of get up and go, all because they’re not getting enough human connection, not getting enough people and we need people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think it’s one of the really most serious and not often acknowledged consequences of the pandemic is the social isolation that absolutely cripples people. Well, people with ADHD, it’s critical that they get it and they often don’t get it because they’re socially awkward, they don’t join, they don’t jump in and as a result, they suffer the consequences of vitamin connect deficiency. Well, that’s a long menu John of new ideas and suggestions in this book, which is by far the shortest of all of our books.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes. It really is the shortest, but I think it’s power packed even though. It’s short and quick but it brings to light a bunch of the new stuff that keeps coming out about ADHD and what to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. It boiled down to its bare essentials. The manuscript that I handed in was 125,000 words and the manuscript that you’ll buy, if you but the book is 50,000 words. So just think of the labor that went into reducing it in size so it’s absolutely pithy and condensed and every word counts.

Dr. John Ratey:
The other thing about the final product is it hasn’t lost its humor and fun. And we try to keep that in there so that it moves along quickly and you can enjoy the reading of it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What would ADD be without humor and fun. There’s no serious case of, a VAST as we like to call it now that… well, we hope you’ll get it. You can go to Amazon and order it or any other book selling outlet. You can go to my website, drhallowell.com, John’s website. What’s yours? johnratey.com.

Dr. John Ratey:
johnratey.com

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You can go to your bookstore, the bookstores that are open. We hope that with this book and the documentary, that’s going to come out two months later will really have a movement to take the stigma away from this misunderstood condition and really help people turn it into an asset from being a liability to turn it into an asset. Any last thoughts, John?

Dr. John Ratey:
Well, I just think that this book really captures the essence of the new stuff that we are so excited about and as well as how to manage your attention and the deficit or the attention difference or the variability problem that you have. I think it turned out to be a terrific resource and recommend it to all of you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. And I think we really stress that this condition is not a disorder. It’s a way of being in the world and it has its positives and its negative. We’ve been working with people who have it for so long. We really know what you need to do to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives of this way of being in the world that is so misunderstood. And instead of carrying around these moral diagnoses that you’re undisciplined or a loser or can’t get your act together, we’ll show you how, in fact, you can turn all that around. So that’s why we call this a good news diagnosis. Unlike most diagnoses in medicine, this one is good news because things can only get better. John and I had been doing it long enough, we’ve seen it thousands of times now, thousands upon thousands of times with people, their lives really demonstrably, measurably, improving. Sometimes only a little bit, but more often a lot, major, major improvements.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And that’s why we’re so zealous about it? A patient said to me the other day, “You’re like Moses, you’re leading people out of bondage into the promised land.” And I said, “Well, I don’t think I’m Moses, but this knowledge is Mosesesque. It really can take people out of a condition of bondage and offer them a whole new life. John and I have seen it so often that we really want people to understand it and get the message. We’re not selling anything, we’re trying to report the truth that we’ve seen over and over and over again.

Dr. John Ratey:
That’s great. I think that’s a wrap.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you so much to my dear friend and colleague John Ratey. You can learn more about John at his website, johnratey.com that’s J-O-H-N-R-A-T-E-Y.com. And you can learn more about our new book ADHD 2.0 in the show notes and on my website and John’s website as well. My website is drhallowell.com. And of course, you can get a copy of ADHD 2.0 wherever you buy your books. Remember to follow Distraction on social media and please continue to reach out to us with your comments and questions. We love getting questions from you and every now and then we devote an entire show to your questions. Our email address is [email protected] That’s [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media, our audio engineer is Scott Persson, the brilliant and always ingenious Scott Persson and our producer is the delightful, equanimitist and harmonious Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thanks so much for listening and I look forward to being with you next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite and that’s B-R-I-T-E. wellness.com.

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Being Productive When You Live In Chaos

Being Productive When You Live In Chaos

Kristin Seymour knows firsthand how tough it is to be productive when you have ADHD. Not only does she have ADHD, but Kristin is the mom of two ADHD teens, and she’s also an ADHD specialist.

The advanced practice nurse returns to Distraction to share more of her “life hacks” along with some special advice for parents of ADHD kids.

As Ned puts it, “Kristin has the knack, the understanding and natural empathy of one who has been there, of one who really burns to make sure others do not suffer the way she did.”

Kristin’s website: http://www.ADHDFogLifted.com

If you like this episode, please rate and review Distraction on Apple Podcasts! If you have a question, comment, or show idea please email it to [email protected].

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0!

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

This episode was originally released in November 2018.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com. And brite is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E. Omegabritewellness.com

Kristin Seymour:
Everybody was just like, “What is going on?” And I really believed he was on the wrong medication, it was working, in fact, probably against him. That child is on the right medication now, he had three letters of commendation from emails from teachers this week, and is respecting mom at home.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Today, I am thrilled to be joined by a guest we’ve had before, but we cannot have often enough. Kristin Seymour is one of our favorites. She is a clinical nurse practitioner from St. Louis. She is a specialist in cardiology on the faculty of the Barnes-Jewish hospital, one of the leading academic hospitals in the world, and she also just happens to be an expert on ADHD. Not only because she has it herself, but because she’s made it her business to develop a specialty while continuing to be specialists taking care of critical patients in the field of cardiology. She went on to write a book entitled The Fog Lifted: A Clinician’s Victorious Journey With ADHD, where she told about her personal struggle growing up in St. Louis. Ultimately, the amazing victory she had, where she now is really at the top of her game. And it’s a great treat and pleasure to welcome Kristin back to Distraction.

Kristin Seymour:
Well, thanks, Ned. I’m not sure I’m worth all of that, but thanks for the kind words. Good to be back and talking with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, we wanted to touch on a couple of topics. The first one being one that you’re often asked, namely, how do you manage to get done as much as you do? Being not only a cardiology specialist and ADD specialist, but a mom, a wife, and a incredibly busy woman, how do you achieve productivity in the midst of the chaos that ADD can create?

Kristin Seymour:
Right. That’s a good question because it’s probably the first thing everybody always asks. And I think the most important advice I’ve been giving people lately, and I’ve been taking myself, is to always come back to the core four, which is my four family members, myself, my husband and my girls. And every day starts and ends with what’s best for them, and what they need to get done, we all need to do throughout the day, and everything else goes around that. Barnes-Jewish hospital, I work my job around that, the girls, gym, my consulting works around my family. As long as you always keep your priority and your eye on the ball, which is your core four people or five, or your key three, however many in your family, that is the most important thing.

Kristin Seymour:
And that’s why I can do what I do. So that’s how each day begins and ends, and then everything else works around that. And so, I always try to figure out a way and resources available, to make sure I can get done what I need to do with my priority of the day. That’s probably the biggest thing, the first most thing. The second most important thing is just to be gentle with yourself and know you can only do so much, and not be afraid to say no. So, if someone wants to see me or do something or meet or have me take on an extremely time-consuming case and I know I can’t, I will wait a few weeks. You can only do what you can do. And a lot of us ADHD’ers are pleasers, perfectionists, always want to say yes. The other thing is incentivizing yourself.

Kristin Seymour:
Most all of the teams I work with, and college students, don’t understand the real meaning of incentive. Because we’re dopamine driven, love positive feedback, we need to reward ourselves for doing things that are mentally challenging or exhausting. So if somebody has to do a paper that they’re just completely dreading, they need to set time on it, attack it in compartments or small intervals, and then reward themselves when the paper is done. That soft and hard deadlines, things like that. Set a soft deadline of maybe a week before it’s really due or a few days and a hard deadline of the day it’s due. So you can have that cushion of time, it’s a backup. If it doesn’t get done due to illness or unexpected events.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You also had some other tips about productivity that I remember.

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, the life hack. They’re shortcuts and ways to make things easier. I have a cooler in my car on certain days when I’m going to be running around town, going from place to place or hospital to hospital with ice packs in it. So I can pop by the grocery and throw a few items in it. Moat people like to go to different grocery stores, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Walmart, wherever, and then put the different items and it keep them cold. So you’re not backtracking where you just were earlier that day, taking pictures of your receipts, that you have to expense items for your job. Not only do you have the day and time and receipt, you can virtually move that to a folder of 2018 expenses and a subheading. So you’re not messing with all of these different receipts.

Kristin Seymour:
So things like just trying to take shortcuts like that, or taking a picture of where you parked your car, because so many of us have that poor short-term memory at times. Dictating in your note, if you’re fortunate enough to have a smartphone, which I think most of the population does anymore, you can use the voice activated memo. And I dictate my to-do-list, dictate my emails, dictate things for… It’s hard for many of us to write down all of our thoughts and then uploading it to an email. And then you’ve got your whole some brief notes to go back to if you don’t have time to sit and write something. So those are all some good ideas to help people save time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
On another note, I know that you have worked with a number of high school students who were particularly lost, and do you have any sort of general themes and trends because I’ve seen you really turn them around? What are the issues you think are there?

Kristin Seymour:
Well, the best thing is when you can partner with parents, whether they’re married or divorced, all of these, every parent or guardian wants their child or student to succeed. And when you partner with them and better understand the dynamics, not only at home but at school and with their athletics and sports and extracurriculars, it’s a bigger picture than maybe sometimes the teacher sees, or maybe a parent can’t see the whole scope all the time. So what I like to do is if I can, and most often the families welcome it, it’s having a meeting of the minds with the school advisor, the student’s advisor, the head of the school, the Dean of students, the parents, and sometimes, with the student and sometimes without to just see what pressure this kid is under. Because sometimes when everyone’s on the same page, things go amazing.

Kristin Seymour:
But sometimes people are missing a link. So partnering with the school, really understanding everyone and learning what’s best for the student, it’s just really, really effective. You have some parents who think the school should do every single thing and the parents should do nothing. That’s not correct. You have some parents that think the school does nothing, and they have no idea what the school is capable of because they’ve never sat down and looked at the whole picture. So when they start learning, when they’re younger in high school and junior high, it’s really cool and fascinating and remarkable to see what they’re able to execute on their own with mom and dad far away, their coach, me, far away on their own, thing outside the box to partner with the school

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you say partnering with the school comes as news to some parents?

Kristin Seymour:
Exactly. And the biggest thing, if I can say that I’ve witnessed is when the parents come in with an open-mind and calm and wanting to partner and say, “Thank you for all you’ve done for Sally,” whoever, the student. “We are so fortunate to have a team like you.” And not have to kiss their rear end, but really partner because the school works really hard too. And then say, “What are we able to accomplish within reason?” And they’re going to work with you, but coming in, they’re angry and upset and kicked off and with a chip on your shoulder and offensive about something or a diagnosis a situation, that will not be a helpful approach.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And it’s a pretty natural of alliance. I mean, you’re all on the same team. So it’s really, you’re opening a natural door. There’s no reason to keep it closed. And because all that stuff is born out of anxiety, how do you help parents become less anxious? And how do you help them come into the school with the right attitude?

Kristin Seymour:
That is a great, great question. The first thing I usually do is just tell them, and I sometimes feel rude saying this that I have to say, “Let’s just slow down.” And I hate when people say that to me. So I feel like I have regret, but, “Let’s just take a breath. Let’s sit down. Let’s slow down. Let’s see what the grades really are to date.” How anxious is the student? How vital are sports? How far are we in the season? And it just lets the parents settle down and know that we probably can drop an AP course. We probably can maybe decrease the time on the ACT for our class on a weekend, on top of the tournament. Let’s space things out differently. The school’s on our side. If it’s a public school and private, but more public, there’s laws that protect that parent. It don’t have to be so hysterical.

Kristin Seymour:
There are standards in place if you’re not getting what we need for your students. Private schools, they have standards as well, very high ones as well. But those same laws are always applied. So therefore, you can say, “We’re paying tuition. We’re seeking this education. Let’s partner on this together.” But not in a threatening way. The parents didn’t think you’re right. The ball is in our court. There’s one parent that I’ve ever had to say who actually was so anxious that we had to do a meeting before the meeting to role play. And then, that parent is probably going to… There’s some parents that end up needing a little bit more, like working out, exercising, and taking out caffeine because they just feed their anxiety. But other than that, they usually get very calm when they feel they have a partner or that the school is really on their side.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, just your sort of taking the by the hand and saying, “We can do this together.”

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah. And the parents were just like, “What is it that you’re doing that we’re not?” And I’m like, “It’s just because sometimes it comes from somebody else who’s not in a position of authority like a teacher or a parent, but they command. They have the respect for it as well, and you’re up here, but you get the brain because I lived it.” And I know what they’re saying when they say they can’t focus. I know why they have to get up after 10 minutes to take a break.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of OmegaBrite Wellness, Dr. Carol Locke, about the benefits of taking OmegaBrites, and Omega-3s, CBD and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations. Now, there are many different products, brands, fish oil, why is OmegaBrite the best?

Dr. Carol Locke:
What I can speak to with OmegaBrite is it’s a very different formula than typically what you can get in the store or online. And OmegaBrite is clinically proven. We have over 10 studies in major academic centers, showing OmegaBrite improving mood, helping with bipolar, with depression, with ADHD, with anxiety, with inflammation. So, that’s a very proven product for you to gain these benefits. And these benefits we know come from OmegaBrite. You can’t get that with a typical Omega-3, which has say 180 milligrams of EPA in it. That just isn’t going to provide that benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at OmegaBritewellness.com by using the promo code Podcast2020. All right, let’s get back to today’s topic. What do you wish someone had told you when you were in high school in trying to figure it all out?

Kristin Seymour:
That it truly can be an asset and it’s good news. It’s a gift, if you harness it properly, that it’s not a curse, that it sometimes might feel like one, but that you have an incredible ability to think large and accomplish much. You’re not a failure and you are smart because all of us feel so dumb.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And how did you beat the odds? I mean, how did you manage to make it?

Kristin Seymour:
Well, probably when I got my diagnosis, I was so relieved to know it wasn’t my fault, if you will. And at 19, I was like, “This is such a relief to know I’m not stupid and I’m not lazy and I’m not applying myself.” And after trying everything that was non-medication, scheduled routine structure, diet, exercise, sleep, everything like that, then when I went on the medication, it was really a big game changer because I was such a textbook case. And that was what changed it around. But then I thought nothing’s going to stop me, nothing was getting in my way. I just had this desire to be a nurse. And I’m like, “I don’t care what I have to do to do this. I’m going to do it.” And then that clarity was a relief.

Kristin Seymour:
And then I was like, “This is fine, and this is easy.” And I can’t believe how much I actually liked school. And the other thing is, this is just a side note. My parents never gave up, they really didn’t. And they did love me through that. But when I was dating people or if my friends in high school college and post-college, those people believed in me and those people cheerleaded [inaudible 00:14:53] like gym, the whole way through. Those are the people that have your back and support you in so many loving ways, why I was successful off medication too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. How much difference did medication make for you?

Kristin Seymour:
100%, because everything else was not, I mean, working that we had tried over so many years and even after diagnosis. And so in 1992, Dr. Garrett Burris was like, “Let’s just try this.” And I think this is, “She’s a classic case,” and we did it. And it was literally like turning on the windshield wipers in a rain storm and clarity or a cable from a non-cable TV. It truly is that way. And I had a patient I’m working with, he’s so impulsive in 8th grade, he opened the car door while his mom was driving down an interstate, and he’s fine, but he was just doing so many impulsive things. And just everybody, the school, everybody was just like, “What is going on?” And I really believe he was on the wrong medication, was working in fact probably against him because it was not the right dose.

Kristin Seymour:
It was like sometimes when you don’t have the right medication at the right dose, it’s sub-therapeutic. It’s not effective. It’s not against him, but it wasn’t working in his favor. It wasn’t making a difference. So, that child is on the right medication now that I suggested to as a psychiatrist. He had three letters of commendation from emails from teachers this week or last week, I apologize, at the end of last week. And is respecting mom at home and doing so well. And that is so fast that you can see how fast the correct plan all around and medication can be effective in major ways.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The correct plan and medication, I think so true. But I would add, and you don’t know how well you do this, but I’ve seen it. You advocating, you really go to bat for these kids. And I think in a way that a lot of doctors don’t have time or don’t feel that it’s their role or what have you, but I’ve seen you. I mean, you go right in there, you go right into the school and you get right in with the kids and you really cheer-lead them in a big way. And I think that element is often forgotten that people don’t realize how important that is.

Kristin Seymour:
You’re exactly right. And when you work with cases where you have to always remember that child, your parents are trusting you and them as a team. And that child is all I care about. I mean, the parents vision and their mission and their beliefs is important, but one parent goes, “Medicine’s not an option for us.” And I said, “Well, this isn’t your journey, this is Sally’s journey.” And we need to really reevaluate what this is about. Let’s look at the facts, because right now, your child is so defeated. They’re going to turn to something else possibly to calm their mind, and that’s that.

Kristin Seymour:
And that usually is very powerful because if she was diabetic or chemo if she had cancer, or eyeglasses for vision problems, I mean, let’s stop and think about this. And that really bothers them when they don’t want to, because they don’t believe in it, or they don’t believe the facts. Look at the MTA analysis. Look at all the good data out there that shows how effective it can be without long-lasting side effects. To be effective, it’s not about making friends with everybody. You have to be direct and factual and represent and do a good job for that student.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Why do you think there aren’t more services like the ones you provide? They’re very hard to find people who do it the way you do it.

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah. I don’t know. I think probably because some people think that they’re a good coach or accountability coach or advocate and they probably are. I mean, I think there’s just not a lot of people who’ve lived it and lived it well that want to talk about it, and share some of the struggles I had and how I wanted to get in there with them and say, “I know you’d probably rather poke your eyeballs out or starved herself to death than do this paper, but I know that feeling, but let’s bite off in little chunks.” Not a lot of people would admit they had to go through that to get through school, or didn’t even know they had it, or don’t care enough, or don’t want to spend that much time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. I mean, I think people forget this is not just take a pill and see me in the morning kind of thing.

Kristin Seymour:
Right? No. No, it’s literally the student and I meeting with the parents and going sometimes to where they… Whether it’s FaceTime, virtually or in person and seeing the dynamic and the setup. What does homework look like in your house? Where are you sitting and how can we make this more effective? And let’s make some strategies that will work or… You know what I mean? It’s kind of like taking on a family, “Okay, I see this girl who I love and I’m working with right now.” And this girl is awesome. I mean, she’s more athletic, smarter, prettier, more competent than I was and I diagnosed with ADHD, combined type with anxiety, just similar to what I would have been in high school.

Kristin Seymour:
This girl wants to help herself so much and is willing to do anything I say and suggest, and her parents as well, that I burn to help them. So my daughter, I take care of my girls, take care of my family, take care of myself. And then when I have time and my kids are out or doing something else, I will go over to that house. So I will meet in my office and help this family, because this kid wants it as bad as I do. But when I seem to care more than the child or more than the parent, that’s not good. Those are the cases I do my best with, but it’s when the parents are so wanting me and they’re all engaged that I just like in it with them. And those are the ones who have the fastest improvement too within a month.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I could talk to you for a long time. I want to remind people that you’ll be at the International ADHD Conference in St. Louis, November 8th to the 11th. And you’ll be talking about self-medication and vaping, is that correct?

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah. In all students, but particularly in ADHD, impulsive students and what that does to the brain and their behaviors.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And the conference will have a ton of wonderfully interesting speakers. So if any of you want to go and can go, I really recommend it. And again, Kristin’s book is called The Fog Lifted: A Clinician’s Victorious Journey With ADHD. And if people want to reach you, what’s the best way for them to reach you?

Kristin Seymour:
They can reach me on my website. It’s ADHDfoglifted.com, and there’s a contact form there. But they’re into my email, I believe my business email’s in my book as well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good. Well, your messages is very practical, but also very hopeful and inspiring. You’ve lived it, you practice it and you put in that kind of work and don’t give up and you do get a good outcome. Well, Kristin, thanks a million for taking the time to join us. I know how really busy you are and as always, you’re wonderful. We have to have you on again soon. Thank you so much.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you, Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right. Well, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction, and thank you so much for joining us. The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at omegabrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

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Pat Yourself On The Back For Making It Through 2020

Pat Yourself On The Back For Making It Through 2020

Ned shares congratulations on making it through one of the most difficult years in our lifetime. He extends a wish of hope and continued resilience for 2021 with the Distraction community.

We are so grateful for all of you!

If you like this episode, please rate and review Distraction on Apple Podcasts! If you have a question, comment, or show idea please email it to [email protected].

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0!

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, Omegabrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so as my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast, I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at Omegabritewellness.com and brite is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E Omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with, in Putney Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at LCdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction. I’m talking to you on the eve of new year’s eve. So of course, I’m thinking about the new year as most of you are as well. And what a hellacious year 2020 was. I’m sure we’re all looking to much better tidings come 2021, but looking back I just want to congratulate you all because simply getting through a amounts to a lot. Particularly if you have the fascinating trait that we love to talk about called ADHD, or as we renamed it in our new book, VAST. If you have ADHD/VAST then dealing with the uncertainty of everyday life becomes even more stressful, problematic, upsetting, frustrating, and raging difficult and leads you to want to pull out your hair, if not your fingernails as well. It’s really stressful.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So if you were sitting there listening to this, you deserve tremendous congratulation. You deserve enormous, enormous pats on the back and whatever other kinds of goodies you like to get. It’s no small feat to have gotten through the horrible obstacle course that was 2020. And to be looking at the new year with an attitude of hope, knowing that we’re not out of the woods by any means but that there is reason to hope. The vaccine gives us reason to hope, and we hope the transition from one administration to the next will give us hope. We’re together, bonding, connecting, getting over what I call a massive vitamin connect deficiency, which is hitting people right and left and leveling them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So now’s the time to connect. Now’s the time to come together, hug one another if it’s safe, hug one another figuratively otherwise, and just feel the good vibration that can start circling around the country and around the world. Congratulations on having made it through 2020, and now steel yourself, gird your loins and march into 21 with gusto, enthusiasm and high, high hopes. I think 21 will prove to be a wonderful year.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This is Dr. Ned Hallowell wishing you the happiest of new years you could ever imagine. Take care, stay safe and be well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at Omegabrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at Omegabrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

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Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria Is Common with ADHD

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria Is Common with ADHD

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is common in those with ADHD. And the pain that people experience is very real as Dr. H describes in this mini episode.

Do you have a question or guest suggestion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Pre-order Now!  Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0.

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness!

Now is a great time to try OmegaBrite as Ned has arranged for a special offer for the first 250 Distraction listeners who respond. Distraction listeners who buy one bottle of 70/10 MD Omega-3, will get a FREE bottle of CBD Full Spectrum 25mg Softgels with the promo code: NED. You’ll get FREE shipping too! These are the same supplements that Dr. H takes every day.

Just enter the code: NED after adding the Omega-3 to your cart and the FREE bottle of CBD and FREE shipping will be automatically applied.

Click HERE to learn more about our other amazing sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently!

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is sponsored by OmegaBrite Wellness. Get a free bottle of OmegaBrite CBD full spectrum soft gels with free shipping when you buy one bottle of their 7010 MD Omega-3. Use offer code Ned, that’s my name, Ned, at omegabritewellness.com. Distraction is also sponsored by Landmark College in Putney, Vermont, the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Today I want to respond to a couple of questions that have come from my recent debut on Tik Tok #nedtalks on Tik Tok. If you go there, you’ll see a bunch of 60 second video clips that I’ve made. A couple of questions that have come up… On Tik Tok you don’t have a lot of time to answer a question. So a couple of questions that would take a little bit more than the brief space we have on Tik Tik to answer questions I thought I’d deal with here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The first one regards rejection sensitive dysphoria, RSD, condition that William Dodson, one of the great clinicians in our field has really taken to the general public. It’s received widespread attention because it’s so common. Now rejection sensitive dysphoria is a bunch of syllables that simply refers to a person’s tendency to be more than average sensitive to rejection. None of us likes rejection. If someone comes up to you and says, “You’re ugly,” you’re not going to like that. Or if someone comes up to you and says, “You’re stupid,” you’re not going to like that. Or if you apply for a job and don’t get it, you’re not going to like that. Or if you ask someone out and they say, “You must be joking,” you’re not going to like that. So, it is a baseline fact of human existence that rejection is not pleasant.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
However, there’s tremendous variability in how people respond to rejection. Those of us who have what’s called rejection sensitive dysphoria, we have an exaggerated response to rejection. Oftentimes we imagine rejection when it really isn’t there. Someone can say, “Oh, I really like your tie.” And you think, well, does that mean you don’t like my shirt? So we can imagine rejection where none as intended. That’s the dilemma of the person who has RSD, rejection sensitive dysphoria.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It happens to be very common in people who have ADHD. People don’t have ADHD can have it as well. People with anxiety disorders, people with post traumatic stress disorder, people who have a very insecure childhood, never got the kind of grounding and reassurance they needed and never developed what I call the emotional shock absorbers to allow you to deal with and rebound from rejection or disappointment. So there are many ways you can acquire rejection sensitive dysphoria, but it happens for whatever reason to be common in the ADHD population. We are inclined to overreact to rejection and to imagine rejection where none is intended.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What do you do about that? Well, you begin by simply knowing that it exists, that you have an exaggerated response to rejection, and sometimes you perceive it when it’s not even there. Now that can help you put it into perspective, you see, because by definition, the rejection sensitive dysphoria is a loss of perspective. You are magnifying the importance of the disappointment. You are magnifying the damage to your self-esteem that the rejection has done. You are turning a molehill into a mountain. So you want to learn how to bring that mountain back down to the molehill it ought to be.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a skill that you can cultivate. One good way is to go to my favorite rule which is never worry alone. Talk to someone about it. Do you think that person really hates me? Do you think my not getting the job means I’m a total loser? Do you think my not getting a good grade in the course means I have no future in this field? You want to reality test, as the jargon puts it, your reaction, because your reaction is exaggerated. One way to bring that mountain back down to a molehill is to test your reaction out with a friend and say, “This is how I reacted to that. What do you think?” And the friend will say, “You’re exaggerating.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, in order to do that, you have to be willing to make yourself vulnerable. You have to be willing to say, “I had this extreme reaction.” Then let your friends say, “Gee, it doesn’t sound like that person really was putting you down all that much.” Or the job you didn’t get it, well, there’s plenty of other jobs out there, and it doesn’t mean you’re a loser at all. There’s nobody in this world who hasn’t applied for something and not gotten it, whether it’s a team, a job, a date, or whatever it might happen to be.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, start building your emotional shock absorbers as I call them. You do that with friends, with belief systems, with faith, with aphorisms, slogans. Epictetus, the great stoic philosopher, really the father of cognitive therapy, was a slave, and he discovered that the one thing he could control was his thoughts. So even as a slave, he was happy. His master freed him because he said, “Epictetus, if you can explain to me your secret, I’ll set you free.” Epictetus did, and it worked. The master set him free, and now Epictetus is revered as one of the fathers of a whole school of philosophy called stoicism. So, it’s about learning how to take control of your emotions and your thoughts instead of being at the whim, the horrible often devastating whim of your perceived rejections. You want to learn how, and seeing a therapist can help a great deal, learn how to build up your emotional shock absorbers, your reality testers, your capacity to reassure yourself, to give yourself self-talk without necessarily having to find another person.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Dr. Dodson also recommends a couple of medications that oddly enough can be helpful for this. They’re not antidepressants. They’re what are called the alpha agonists. Clonidine is one, and Guanfacine is another, that in low doses have been found to be effective in dealing with RSD. Now, why that is, we don’t know. But it is very interesting that a medication can help improve a person’s capacity to tolerate rejection. It just shows there’s this tremendous interface between the mind and the body, between what we think of as femoral and psychological, as opposed to what we think of neuro-transmitter driven biology. They overlap. They’re, in a sense, one and the same, that you can use a medication to treat what seems like such a purely psychological experiential phenomenon. So rejection sensitive dysphoria.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The other part of the question the person asked was, “Well, what if the rejection is real?” What if you have been dropped by the person of your dreams? What if you did make it up to the final cut and didn’t make the team, or didn’t get the job, or didn’t get the promotion? There’s no doubt that’s a rejection. What if it’s real? Well, you deal with it in exactly the same way. You rely on your emotional shock absorbers. You rely on your support system. That’s why it’s so important to have a support system, what I call your network of positive connection, connection to friend, connection to family, connection to a dog, one of the ones that I champion all the time. Connection to ways of self-soothing be it music, be it beauty, be it a walk in nature, ways of self-soothing, reliable ways of self-soothing, and avoiding the dangerous ways of self-soothing, which is excessive alcohol, drugs, dangerous seeking behavior, impulsive acting out. So you want to try to cultivate the adaptive forms of self-soothing and steer clear of the maladaptive.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But that’s why it’s important to have a philosophy, or a belief system that you can reliably turn to, a passage from literature, a letter from a friend, something that you remember that stuck with you that helps to bring it out when times are tough. My father-in-law who’s since passed away, loved the poem “If”. I’ll send you to that poem. It’s a great one if you want to have something that you can turn to for some degree of stabilization. We all need that. People who have this predilection toward overreacting to disappointment and rejection particularly need to develop those emotional shock absorbers that you can bring out so that you don’t suffer the terrible pain that RSD can create if you don’t know what you’re dealing with.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I hope that makes sense because it’s a common phenomenon, not just in the world of ADHD, but in life in general. Life has enough pain in it, but you don’t want to… I call there’s necessary pain and then there’s unnecessary pain, and the pain of RSD is unnecessary pain, so take it upon yourself to learn how to master it. Work with a professional. You’ll discover that these episodes, while no fun, do not have to be devastating, and indeed can turn into growth. That is a fact, that the painful experiences, the old saying what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, it’s true. It’s true. But we don’t want you to get killed in the process.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Before I go, I’d like to thank our sponsor OmegaBrite Wellness. Get a free bottle of OmegaBrite CBD full spectrum soft gels with free shipping when you buy one bottle of their 7010 MD Omega-3. Use offer code Ned, that’s my name, at omegabritewellness.com. Please reach out to us with your questions and comments by emailing [email protected] That’s [email protected] And if you happen to be on Tik Tok, my new favorite platform, you can find me there with the username @drhallowell. I’ve posted a whole bunch of videos about common ADHD issues, and they’re only 60 seconds apiece. Take a look and let me know what you think. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the estimable Scott Persson. Our producer is the very talented Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, until next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard, just now heard, was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. Get a free bottle of OmegaBrite CBD full spectrum soft gels with free shipping when you buy one bottle of their 7010 MD Omega-3. Use offer code Ned, that’s my name, at omegabritewellness.com.

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